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a combining form meaning “seizure,” used in the formation of compound words: epilepsy.
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Origin of -lepsy

Combining form representing New Latin -lēpsia<Greek -lēpsia, equivalent to lêps(is) a seizure (lēp- variant stem of lambánein to seize + -sis-sis) + -ia-y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -lepsy mean?

The combining form -lepsy is used like a suffix meaning “seizure.” It is sometimes used in medical terms.

The form -lepsy is based on the Greek lêpsis, meaning “seizure, grasping” and formed from the verb lambánein, “to seize.” This verb also helped form the Greek word epilēpsía, ultimate source of the English epilepsy.

Examples of -lepsy

One example of a medical term that features –lepsy is narcolepsy, “a condition characterized by frequent and uncontrollable periods of deep sleep.”

The first part of the word, narco-, means “stupor” or “state of drowsiness” (narcosis). The second part, -lepsy, means “seizure,” as we have seen. Narcolepsy literally translates to “a seizure of stupor.”

What are some words that use the combining form -lepsy?

What are some other forms that -lepsy may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

Catalepsy is a medical term for when someone is unconscious and rigid. Based on the meaning of -lepsy, what is catalepsy generally characterized by?

British Dictionary definitions for -lepsy


sometimes -lepsia

n combining form
indicating a seizure or attackcatalepsy

Derived forms of -lepsy

-leptic, adj combining form

Word Origin for -lepsy

from New Latin -lepsia, from Greek, from lēpsis a seizure, from lambanein to seize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for -lepsy


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.